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26Mar/200

Cruel Seas Kriegsmarine R-23 R-Boat

I've added the Fairmile D to my Royal Navy, so I needed a medium sized counter part for my Kriegsmarine. Something the R-Boat could take care of.

Cruel Seas - Kriegsmarine R-23 R-Boat Cruel Seas - Kriegsmarine R-23 R-Boat

Similar how E-Boat was an allied term for Enemy Boats, R-Boat is a term for Räumboote (meaning minesweeper). These R-Boats were build already before the second world war, and saw service post-war for clearing naval mines.

There was a total of 424 boats built for the Kriegsmarine and they used them in every theatre, from the Mediterranean to the Black Sea. But not only for mine sweeping, but as convoy escort, coastal patrol, minelaying and air-sea rescue. So a fitting, and very multipurpose addition to a flotilla in the english channel. About a quarter of the boats were fitted with Voith Schneider Propellers, which gave them extra maneuverability. This is represented in the rules of Cruel Seas as well.

There were several variants of the R-boats, the R-23 is not a class of their own but a very specific designation. They would just carry the R-boat name, and the number would mark a single boat not a class per se. The square windows on the bridge bring me to the conclusion, that these are either R17 or R25 type boats, build 1934-38 or 1938-39.

In Cruel Seas the R-Boat is armed with MGs on each side, a 37mm semi-auto on the stern and a 20mm gun on the bow. It counts as a medium vessel.

The R-boat is offered as a double pack by Warlord Games as 1:300 scale kit for 30 GBP. It is sold as a blister pack and comes with tokens and gaming material. The vessel is a mixed resin and metal kit and does not supply an assembly instructions. As often, you will need to use the product pictures from the shop as a guide. The metal bits come in a small zip lock bag and the blister covers a sheet of flags, two stat cards, wake markers and small sheet for the chits.

Cruel Seas - Kriegsmarine R-23 R-Boat Cruel Seas - Kriegsmarine R-23 R-Boat

The hulls of the Räumboot are cast from resin, and they have two injection points on the stern, that need to be removed. The metal bits in 1:300 are rather fine, so you have to take care with barrels and legs of the crew men. You have the weaponry - 20mm and 37 mm semi-auto gun, optional crewman and flags for the ships.

As usual, wash the resin parts before hand in luke warm soap water. I gave the lower hull a brief grind as well as the bottom, to have the ship sit plain on the tabletop.

Cruel Seas - Kriegsmarine R-23 R-Boat Cruel Seas - Kriegsmarine R-23 R-Boat

This kit comes with instructions, but to the low amount of bits it is not a real problem, as you have to add the guns on bow and stern, that's it. They sit on a pin, so you can rotate them.

The optional parts are for crew men and flags in two sizes. The crew man could be glued to the bridge or near the guns, the flags to the bow.

Cruel Seas - Kriegsmarine R-23 R-Boat Cruel Seas - Kriegsmarine R-23 R-Boat Cruel Seas - Kriegsmarine R-23 R-Boat

A size comparison may not be missed in this review, the R-23 inbetween the larger M-Class Minesweeper and the S-Boat from the starter kit.

Cruel Seas - Kriegsmarine R-23 R-Boat

It fits very well with the long and lean design of the German boats.

Cruel Seas - Kriegsmarine R-23 R-Boat Cruel Seas - Kriegsmarine R-23 R-Boat Cruel Seas - Kriegsmarine R-23 R-Boat

Conclusion
The price point is the same as with the Fairmile, and I bought the same time during a sale on the Warlord Games site. So the regular 30 GBP price tag of the double blister was reduced and brought it into a more reasonable pricing. And as it is similar in size and very comparable to the other kits from that range, the niche of naval wargaming, in 1:300, along with the laborious gaming material (die cut chits, cards and such) is a plausible argument for the pricing.

As written in the final set of pictures, I like the design and it blends in with the remaining Kriegsmarine ships and vessels. The camouflage of these was a bit weird, at least for my taste and I'll be a bit more free / creative when adding it to the kits. I like the amount of details they recreated on the small scale, and similar to the Fairmile, this is a size that is still very managable in painting and fielding within a game of Cruel Seas.

Quite a lot of these Räumboote survived the war and distributed amongst the Allies. Some were given back to the German Authorities, GMSA, to clear naval mines in western Europe. And 24 boats were given to the Bundesmarine, the post-war German Navy, and were in service until the late 1960s.

The Kriegsmarine did not just use german build R-boats, but a lot of captured vessels from other european countries like the United Kingdom, France, or Italy and were put into service as R-boats (R-boote Ausland), with designations similar to the Beutepanzer having RA-, RH- and RD- prefixes.

For further information on coastal forces of the Kriegsmarine, I recommend the Osprey book New Vanguard #151.

Cruel Seas is a brand of Warlord Games.

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